It’s been a quite remarkable week in the history of the Donegal Sports Star Awards.
First there was the announcement that the 40th awards anniversary function was ‘sold out’ just a week after the tickets went on sale.
And that was followed by the news that the original special guest Ronnie Delany would be unable to attend next Friday night’s special event in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny.
However, the Donegal Sports Star Committee moved promptly to secure another high profile replacement from the same era in Ireland’s first ever female Olympian Maeve Kyle who resides in Ballymena.
Kyle, who has represented her country at three Olympic Games in athletics and played 58 times for the Irish international hockey team, will be the special guest for the second time having also performed the honours 20 years ago at the 11th awards function in the Milford Inn. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours.
After all that the county is now looking forward to what is expected to one of the biggest nights ever in Donegal sport.
The winners from the first ever awards function in November, 1976 will be honoured as will members of the original committee. A number of that group have passed onto their eternal reward but no doubt they will be there in spirit and be immensely proud that their vision of rewarding Donegal’s sporting stars has reached it’s 40th anniversary.
The first male and female Overall Winners, Liam Doherty (1978) and Danea Herron (1985), will also be special guests on the night.
Just three people know they are receiving awards on Friday night. They are golfer Oliver Doherty from Buncrana who won a silver medal at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles and Ramelton’s Kieran Murray who took two gold and a bronze medal at the World Transplant Games.
And just last week it was confirmed that former Finn Harps icon Jim Sheridan will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for the committee as we have had to deal with a couple of very big issues very quickly,” said Donegal Sports Star Awards Chairperson Neil Martin.
“It’s unfortunate that Ronnie Delany isn’t able to come but we’re delighted that, at such short notice we have been able to secure another high profile special guest in Maeve Kyle.”
Guests are asked to be in the Mount Errigal Hotel for 7pm sharp on Friday night as proceedings will start strictly on time because of the volume of presentations that have to be made.